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Pregnancy Discrimination

California Attorneys Assisting Employees

For many women, pregnancy is a happy time. Unfortunately, some employers harbor negative stereotypes about pregnant employees and their ability to work. California and federal laws provide protection against discrimination or harassment based on pregnancy. You may be confused about what your rights are in this situation. Understandably, you may be concerned about reporting harassment to HR or filing a charge, especially with the baby on the way. If you are mistreated at work while pregnant or just after having a child, you should consult the seasoned California pregnancy discrimination lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm. We may be able to represent you in a lawsuit for damages.

Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employer takes a negative action against an employee or job applicant. Discrimination can include failure to hire, termination, failure to provide equal training opportunities, demotion, failure to promote, disparate pay, and harassment. Federal and state laws prohibit pregnancy discrimination.

Federal Law

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It forbids pregnancy discrimination with regard to any term or condition of employment. When a woman cannot do her job due to a medical condition associated with pregnancy or childbirth, her employer should treat her in the same way that it treats other employees with temporary disabilities. For instance, if your employer provided light duty to a coworker who broke her arm and leg, it may need to provide that type of accommodation to you in the event that you are disabled by pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition. The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may also provide some protection to workers dealing with disabilities based on pregnancy. However, like Title VII, it only applies to employers that have at least 15 employees. A pregnancy discrimination attorney can advise California employees about the federal laws that may support a claim.


In most cases, FEHA provides substantially more protection than does federal law. FEHA applies to employers with at least five employees. It makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against anyone because of their sex, a trait that is defined as including pregnancy.

Many different situations could give rise to a discrimination lawsuit under FEHA. For example, if your employer was considering you for a promotion but decides not to provide it because you are pregnant, you may be entitled to recover damages under FEHA. For another example, if you are not hired because you are seven months pregnant, you may have a claim against the prospective employer.

Pregnancy Disability Leave Rights

FEHA also provides for pregnancy disability leave, which permits female employees to take a maximum of four months of unpaid maternity leave when disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

In addition, our California pregnancy discrimination attorneys can protect your rights under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which allows some female employees to take family care or medical leave for 12 weeks per year. This includes time to bond with the child after giving birth to him or her, as well as adopting or fostering a new child. An eligible employee can take the 12 weeks after the four months of pregnancy disability leave.

Reasonable Accommodations

Under FEHA, an employer needs to provide reasonable accommodations for a pregnancy that causes a disability, except when it would cause an undue hardship to the employer. Your employer’s failure to provide reasonable accommodations may constitute pregnancy discrimination, for which you can recover damages.

Consult an Employment Discrimination Lawyer

When you are pregnant, you may be excited and nervous about what is to come. An employer’s failure to treat you fairly during this time or after you give birth may be devastating. If you face adverse treatment or harassment on the job when you are expecting, you should discuss your situation with a pregnancy discrimination lawyer in California. The Nourmand Law Firm represents clients in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, as well as Oakland and Sacramento, among other areas. Complete our online form or call us at 310-553-3600.

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